In First Hand Accounts

By Bryn Powell, ON24

ON24 is a member of the ABM Leadership Alliance, which is a group of experts who provide B2B marketers with guidance and oversight on how to leverage technology to create a high performing ABM strategy.

There’s no doubt that ABM is the most buzzed-about “trend” in marketing today. Despite the hype, ABM isn’t really all that new. Sure, ABM provides better tactics and technologies to reach your named accounts, but once you get to them, you still must meaningfully engage with the people inside those accounts.

Marketers can’t rest on their laurels just because they are “doing ABM” in some way, shape or form. Instead, marketers need to consider how to take ABM’s principles of demand generation at scale, and then apply personalization and engagement strategies to really connect to the important people within target accounts.

Here are five considerations for how to put your audience at the center of your ABM campaigns:

1) Have A High-Value Offer

At the core of ABM is empathy — you must truly understand your audience. Because no matter how you reach an account, you still need a high enough value offer that connects with the people inside it.

You must also consider the content and messages you’re sending in relation to who they are going to. Do you really think they will pay off? If you have truly empathized with people — have been able to get inside their heads and effectively market and appeal to them — the answer will be yes.

In practical terms, the output cannot be creating 100 different whitepapers for target accounts; clearly, that’s not scalable. But you can make dynamic content that can be adapted at an industry or use-case level that will address the main pain points of your audience.

Marketers should work with subject-matter experts within their organization to understand how to make content specific to a use case or industry. By creating content that speaks to the trends that are hot in a specific space or executive buyer role, marketers can ensure the content will speak to the target audience. This approach is both scalable and effective.

2) Choose Vocabulary Carefully 

The slippery slope that results in getting personalization wrong can start with not choosing language carefully. In many cases, marketers may think they are being effective at personalizing content for their target audience, when really the language they are using makes them sound generic.

In addition, the way one company in a certain industry might talk about their buying funnel could take on a completely different vocabulary to a competitor. Marketing can stick out like a sore thumb if the language used in the content you send people is misaligned with how they talk about the topic.

Language matters, and the best step marketers can take in choosing the right vocabulary is to pick the brain of the sales people who speak regularly with those target companies and have them advise you on their internal lingo.

3) Personalize Interactivity

Another mistake marketers can fall victim to is swapping a target company’s logo out on a piece of content and considering it “personalized.” Taking the logo shortcut to ABM is a very slippery slope, and one that often screams, “I don’t know you at all,” especially when nothing else on the page feels personal.

Rather than warn prospects you’re faking it with a logo, you should welcome them with a personalized message through a dynamic chatbot or interactive online poll that starts a dialogue and then gets passed to a human to handle for a genuine conversation.

Beginning a customer’s journey with an earnest attempt to understand who they are and what they need is much better than telling them you have their company IP address in your database. Any marketer can do that with the right amount of technology spend — it’s the companies who start to put engagement on their buyers’ terms through personalized, dynamic interactions that differentiate.

4) Create Feedback Loops 

Once you have a high-value offer and personalized language and interactivity, the next step is to create a feedback loop on the content you send as fuel to further personalize future interactions. A feedback loop allows marketing and sales to glean actionable insights around individuals, rather than just at the account level.

High-value content allows your audience to self-identify the best individual prospects within your target accounts. From there, it becomes important to look at how these people are reacting to specific aspects of your content to determine how to improve and personalize future pieces in a format designed just for them. For example, if they spent the most time on a part of your guide that will be discussed in an upcoming webinar, a logical next step is to invite them to the upcoming session.

Be open to how people choose to define themselves, i.e., by their industry or by their role. Optimize the feedback loop by peppering content with opportunities for self-identification, such as short surveys.

5) Incorporate Quality-Driven Metrics Into Scoring

Many marketers use only quantity-driven metrics in their scoring. When you put your audience at the center of your ABM campaigns, however, you prescribe to quality. So, why would you measure quantity?

It’s time to bring in new metrics. On a webinar, for example, it’s important not to look at the number of total attendees, but how many are on your named account list. For a product page, impressions and page views are less meaningful than depth of consumption and how qualified the people viewing the page are.

Marketers should look to replace outdated KPIs such as number of net new leads with KPIs around behavioral intelligence. Key behavioral intelligence metrics include the amount of time spent on content and the score of the feedback given (because if you have a high value and relevant offer that’s personalized, people should be engaging back with you).

Today, there are too many startups and worthy competitors that will address your audience’s pain points in the right way if you don’t. Savvy marketers can’t afford to use ABM for automation only; it’s time to make ABM all about the audience.

Bryn Powell is the Senior Marketing Manager of Global Programs at ON24. A long-time expert in marketing to marketers, Bryn leads ABM and expansion marketing strategy for ON24. In this role, Bryn drives the company’s global demand center for strategic accounts, scaling U.S.-based programs across the world. She began her time at ON24 managing webinar campaigns, giving her front-line insights into the way ON24 impacts pipeline and revenue, and making her a verified Webinerd. Prior to joining ON24, Bryn ran marketing campaigns, including webinars, at Athena Health. Bryn holds a B.S. from Babson College and is happy to have traded New England winters for San Francisco summers.

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